16 and 17-year-olds can get vaccines in the Triad without parental permission

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Starting Wednesday, everyone over the age of 16 will be eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine in North Carolina. 

According to several Triad health department leaders, teenagers over 16 do not need parental consent to secure an appointment due to state statute.

“It surprised me a little bit, but I understand that they’re trying to capture as many people as possible,” said Veronica Hayes, who took her 17-year-old for his first shot at the Greensboro Coliseum Monday.

Hayes and her son Miles Martin discussed possible side effects but agreed it would be best for him to get vaccinated against the virus. Martin has been learning virtually and wants to get back in the classroom this fall.

“I’ll be a little nervous, but still I’ll be happy because I get to see my old friends. And also, surprisingly enough, I’m actually kind of missing school,” he said.

Health leaders in Guilford and Forsyth Counties are still urging families to talk over vaccination before teens make their own appointments. 

Currently, 16 and 17-year-olds can only take the Pfizer vaccine and make up 0.6% of the partially vaccinated population in our state.

Forsyth County Health Director Joshua Swift wants to see that number climb.

“I think it’s important that 16, 17-year-olds get the vaccine because while they’re not as at risk for severe illness or death, they are they are more active. They have more contacts, so they have a higher chance of spreading the virus to someone who may not be as lucky,” he said.

Hayes said it was a relief to see her son walk out with his card for a second appointment.

“I had COVID. I’ve had both my vaccines, and I’m fine. We were staying with my parents. My father has cancer, so he was high risk, so that was another reason why he couldn’t go to school, so I think it’s really important to get it because it’s not just impacting us, but it’s impacting our loved ones,” she said.

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